Juneteenth Statement from Donor Network West President & CEO, Janice Whaley

On this day, June 19, 2021, we celebrate Juneteenth, the commemoration of the official end of slavery in the United States. Although President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves on January 1, 1863, it was not until two and a half years later that the official document was actually recognized on June 19, 1865.

While I am encouraged by the declaration of Juneteenth as an official federal holiday, what does this statement after all these years really mean when Black people across the United States continue to unjustly lose their lives at the hands of the police, receive lower wages for the same jobs, are limited by neighborhoods with a lack of affordable housing, subpar schools, and limited healthy grocery options, in addition to the lack of quality healthcare.

As the President and CEO of Donor Network West, I will continue to advocate for “real” change within our healthcare system so that Black Americans have access to quality healthcare to help prevent diseases like diabetes and hypertension, which often lead to the need for an organ transplant. Despite making up only 13 percent of the U.S. population, Blacks account for 30 percent of the overall organ transplant waiting list.

As we continue to work to create change together, one way you can help is to register to become an organ donor. One donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation and heal another 75 lives through tissue donation. Be a part of the change today. For more information, visit DonorNetworkWest.org

– Janice Whaley, President & CEO of Donor Network West